Neurodegenerative diseases laboratory

We investigate the mechanisms underlying neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases, such as:

  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Alzheimer's Disease,

and the role of non-neuronal cells in protecting against this neuronal death.

Astrocytes, the most abundant cell type in the brain, have the capacity to alter neuronal behaviour and survival, but the signals regulating this "cytototrophic" activity are not yet known.

Current projects

  • Modulation of brain astrocytes to improve neuronal survival
  • Development of nanofibre scaffolds for 3D culture methods to better model intact brain (collaboration with Dr David Nisbet, ANU and Prof Philip Beart, Florey)
  • Uncovering the signalling pathways that stimulate healthy astrocyte responses to prevent neurodegeneration
  • Determination of the basis for astrocyte resistance to viral infection (collaboration with Dr Karla Helbig)

Team members

Group leader: Dr Ross O’Shea

Masters student: Rania Yousif


  • La Trobe University
  • The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • Australian National University